Senior councillors apologise over Harrogate rubbish collection

Uncollected rubbish in central Harrogate earlier this week.
Uncollected rubbish in central Harrogate earlier this week.

Senior figures at Harrogate Borough Council have apologised over continued "teething issues" with the authority's revamped bin collection scheme, which has seen rubbish in some parts of the district go uncollected for up to six weeks.

The missed bins have sparked outrage across sections of the region, with cabinet member for the environment, waste reduction and recycling, Coun Andy Paraskos, thanking residents for their patience so far.

“The vast majority of the changes have gone without a hitch, but we have had a few issues affecting some collections," he said.

Waste uncollected for six weeks - outrage at teething problems with new Harrogate bin collections

“I am very sorry for the disruption that’s been caused and I thank residents for their patience while the new routes bed in.

“We understand what the issues are and we have a plan in place to catch up."

Additional crews were out on Wednesday picking up missed collections, with the authority confident that any issues would be ironed out within the next cycle.

Waste uncollected for six weeks - outrage at teething problems with new Harrogate bin collections
Council leader Richard Cooper joined Coun Paraskos in apologising for the situation, and said the authority was doing its best to improve the situation.

Coun Cooper said the new routes had seen issues arise with new crews collecting in unfamiliar areas, while there was also teething issues with estimating how much waste each wagon could carry.

"All I can say to those who haven't had their waste collected when they would have expected, is that we are very sorry about that," he said.

The new routes and collection days were adopted by the waste collection service in June in a bid to incorporate hundreds of new homes that have been built or are currently being developed across the district, as well as increasing the "efficiency" of the service.

The changes, which involve about 75,000 properties over 500 square miles, lead to the loss of one bin collection crew, although no jobs were lost according to the council, with the reduction in crew put down to natural turnover.

Last week the union representing many of the council's frontline workers said abuse aimed at staff was on the rise, alongside the changes.

"Whatever the frustrations some may have with these changes, we ask that council staff be treated in a respectful manner and not subjected to abuse or intimidation," Harrogate's UNISON-branch secretary David Houlgate said last week.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter